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Commissioner Hearn just keeps digging his self-made pit even deeper

Here we go again with the sneaky crusade of Commissioner Lee Hearn. First, in 2010, we had a situation where a full quorum of the Fayette County Board of Commissioners was spotted having an improper meeting in a local restaurant in Fayetteville to discuss how they were going to change the county’s Board of Elections to their advantage. However, the new commissioners Allen McCarty and Steve Brown broke that up when they took office.

The three holdovers, Chairman Herb Frady, Commissioner Robert Horgan and Commissioner Hearn, ignored the two new commissioners and appointed a “friend” of Commissioner Hearn to the Board of Elections instead.

The appointed friend turned out to really be Commissioner Hearn’s cousin. Commissioner Hearn had to apologize at a later meeting for not disclosing the family relationship.

At this point you would think the embarrassed Commissioner Hearn would withdraw his relative from the appointment, but it didn’t happen. What we got instead was the commissioner finger pointing and accusing Board of Elections member David Studdard of being in the same boat because his wife is an elected official.

Commissioner Brown called Commissioner Hearn’s sad excuse “the two wrongs make a right philosophy” and said the Republican Party selected Mr. Studdard and not the Fayette Board of Commissioners. Commissioner Brown contended that Mr. Studdard was an honorable guy and thought he would do the right thing but Hearn’s appointment of Addison Lester was entirely the Fayette Board of Commissioners’ responsibility.

At the May 4 meeting, Commissioner Brown asked that the county advertise openings on county boards, commissions and authorities allowing everyone in the county an opportunity to serve instead of people hand-picked in a backroom. He also asked that people complete an application if they were interested in serving. The application would include why the person wanted to serve, qualifications and whether or not they had any conflicts of interest (you know this didn’t have a chance of passing).

Of course Commissioner Brown’s common-sense proposal was defeated. It was obvious that the majority who appointed a relative of Commissioner Hearn was not going to stand for a process that demands full disclosure.

But at the end of the May 4 meeting Commissioner Hearn was uncovered again. Commissioner Brown reported that Commissioner Hearn’s newly appointed cousin also owned 109 acres of land next to the West Fayetteville Bypass which was also never disclosed. It sure looks like Mr. Lester has a very good reason to keep his bypass-supporting cousin, Commissioner Hearn, in office.

I didn’t think this situation could get any worse, silly me. Chairman Frady was desperately trying to shut Commissioner Brown up by insisting Brown’s time to speak had expired but he kept right on talking. After Commissioner Brown was finished, Chairman Frady looked directly at Commissioner Hearn and said, “Would you like to make any comments?” Commissioner Hearn just sat there completely stone faced not uttering a word.

Commissioner Horgan looked like someone had just punched him in the gut after this latest non-disclosure was exposed. He couldn’t say anything either.

This has got to be an all-time low for deceit in local politics. Mr. Lester needs to be a grown-up and leave the appointment. It’s looks like he stands to make a bundle of cash off of the West Fayetteville Bypass and we know his cousin, Commissioner Hearn, is unwavering in his support of the bypass.

Those guys think they can get away with anything.

David Barlow

Tyrone, Ga.


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